Considering what a pickle they were in only a week ago, I admire the efficiency with which the Academy is moving forward with their Oscarcast plans -- with new producer Brian Grazer and host Billy Crystal in place, Oscar-winning production designer John Myhre is now on board to literally set the stage for the event. (It's a nifty coincidence that this news should land on the same day Gerard covers the Best Art Direction race in Tech Support.)
And I must say, I'm fully down with this choice. As with Grazer, there's something classy about bringing a previous winner into the fold to design the show that has been so good to him in the past -- it suggests to me that their show, a little like Bill Condon's 2008 ceremony, will be grounded in a strong, affectionate sense of Academy tradition.
The winner of tonight's "They're Not Going Home, So I Feel Confident Using a Picture of Them With My Recap Without Being Accused of Spoiling Anything" prize goes to... Burrito Josh!
Congratulations, Burrito Josh, for giving the only actual "rock" performance on Wednesday night's "The X Factor." For that, and previous achievements, I'm just assuming that Burrito Josh will be sticking around for another week.
As for the rest of Thursday's results (and a performance by Rihanna), click through...
Call it the Lady Gaga rule. Billboard has set a pricing threshold for albums and singles to come on the Billboard 200 album and the Hot 100 singles charts.
Effective with the charts dated Dec. 10 for the tracking week that starts Nov. 21), any album selling for less than $3.49 for its first four weeks will not be eligible for the chart. After that, discount away. For the singles chart, any track selling for less than .39 cents during its first three months will not be allowed on the chart.
Miranda Lambert, Matthew McConaughey, Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger, the Eagles’ Joe Walsh, and Ellen DeGeneres are among the artists who will honor the 2011 CMT Artists of the Year in a special that will air Dec. 13 on CMT.com. Rob Lowe will host the 90-minute program, taped at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.
The artists of the year—Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Lady Antebellum, Brad Paisley and Taylor Swift—were chosen based on sales, airplay, concert grosses and internet activity.
For those who can remember the adorable little blonde girl on "Sonny and Cher," Chaz Bono's very public transformation from a woman into a man has likely been a jarring one -- and probably accounts for some of the angry response to Bono's decision to star in the current season of "Dancing with the Stars." But Bono has inspired people (and not just transgendered people) everywhere with both his honesty and his willingness to share his transition with the world in the OWN documentary "Becoming Chaz," which was nominated for three Emmys. Now comes "Being Chaz," a second doc showing Bono's life after becoming a man. Bono talked to reporters on a conference call about the new show, what it was like to be called an Ewok on "Dancing with the Stars" and how his mom finally came around to having a son.
It's really striking, the similarities between Phyllida Lloyd's "The Iron Lady" and Clint Eastwood's "J. Edgar." Both attempt to paint a sympathetic portrait of a conservative politician whose ideals were eventually warped and obsessed upon. Both ultimately whitewash those ideals in favor of broad, glossed-over history lessons built from lazily structured screenplays. And both feature leading performances that, in better films, would likely be no-brainers for Oscar wins.
Lloyd's film begins with aged former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher having difficulty merely buying milk in a brave new world that has moved on ahead of her. It initiates the viewer with a dementia-stricken Thatcher and finds some success in using mundane daily encounters -- a dinner party place setting, a tea cup -- to ignite her memory and send the narrative back in time for the usual biopic foundations. But that ultimately gives way to rather arbitrary flashbacks to cover her life in politics quite broadly, rarely finding time to dig in on the various human hues with which it wants to paint its subject.
I like Wale's new record overall because of it's variety. It's clear that Wale like a lot of variety in his ladies, too, judging from two new videos, plus another street clip with Rick Ross, all released this week.
"Ambition" was released early this month, but three vids dropped just this week, including today's "Ambitious Girl." It's a love poem to a girl he hasn't met yet, but she proves self-worth through the woman she aspires to be. She also just happens to be a stripper, y'know, to get herself through school. F'real. The slow-mo clip is otherwise well-shot, only a little gratuitous and well-meaning on the whole.
"Lotus Flower," on the other hand, is a LOT gratuitious, but not without a good laugh by the end. Miguel lays down the bedroom-jamming refrain. I suddenly feel the need to wear a leotard?
And then there's "Tats on My Arm," with Bawse, both rhymers woofing all over this simple record for the club (and, of course, your local tattoo parlor).
Other contenders include 'War Horse,' 'The Artist' and 'J. Edgar'
Posted in In Contention By
Gerard Kennedy Thursday, Nov 17, 2011 5:24 PM
The design of a film truly does “set the scene.” I’m obviously speaking literally in part – the sets fill up our screen and can therefore present interesting opportunities for glitz and glamor, the complete opposite or anything in between.
But I’m also speaking on a more fundamental level: sets and props build the atmosphere of the world a film's characters inhabit. If done well, the job of the directors and actors becomes much easier. It seems only fair that the talented individuals who engage in this art are recognized by their peers in an Oscar category.
Despite being called the Academy Award for Best Art Direction, the art director is unfortunately not awarded in the category. Rather, the production designer and the set decorator are cited. The production designer is in charge of the film’s entire art department as well as designing and blueprinting set construction. The set decorator is in charge of filling up those sets with elements that flesh out the space.
Feist became well-known for her music videos from "The Reminder," particularly for the one for "1234." For "Metals," however, it's been quiet on the A/V end. Until now.
The Canadian singer-songwriter stars solo in this black-and-white Middle Earthish shoot, for "How Come You Never Go There." She sports a very long wig, which is being tousled by the wind. Perhaps she borrowed a machine from Rebecca Black?
Leslie Feist told me in an interview recently that she hasn't been feeling music videos lately, in part because she lost collaborator Patrick Daughters (who stepped away from video-directing to focus on other art). There hasn't been a name associated with this clip yet, but perhaps it's the start of another beautiful friendship.
Feist is currently on tour in North America in support of "Metals." She has help from troupe Mountain Man on backing vocals. It's really good, guys. "Metals" was released this fall.
Sean Penn is channeling The Cure's Robert Smith for his look for forthcoming new film "This Must Be the Place," the but the title itself was inspired by the Talking Heads' song of the same name. So it only makes sense that David Byrne was pulled into the project, for the soundtrack, forming a unique collaboration with Will Oldham.
The two went further and hooked up with singer Michael Brunnock for a couple songs on the 17-track set, and the trio perform those songs under the name The Pieces of Shit, probably because they are mature grown men.
Oldham, aka Bonnie "Prince" Billy, loaned his gorgeous "Lay & Love" to the soundtrack, on which Brunnock sings lead; as a matter of fact, Brunnock leads most of the five original tunes, with the music by Byrne and lyrics by Oldham. Got it?
A live version of Byrne's performance of the title track and the song played in the trailer, “Every Single Moment In My Life Is a Weary Wait," both make the cut. Hair paste not included.
Check, too, Jonsi & Alex's previously released "Happiness," Gavin Friday's lengthy "Lord, I'm Coming" from his new album this year and Iggy Pop's classic "The Passenger."
Here are the five new tunes plus "Lay & Love" from The Pieces of Shit:
Here is the tracklist for "This Must Be the Place":
“Lord I’m Coming” - Gavin Friday
“Lay & Love” - The Pieces Of Shit *
“Open Up” - The Pieces Of Shit
“Chairmaine” - Mantovani & His Orchestra
“Spiegel Im Spiegel” - Daniel Hope & Simon Mulligan
“This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody)” [Edit] - Trevor Green
“This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody)” [Live] - David Byrne
“Gardermoen” - Julia Kent
“Happiness” - Jonsi & Alex
“Eliza” - The Pieces Of Shit
“The Passenger” - Iggy Pop (4:41)
“You Can Like It” - The Pieces Of Shit
“Achille’s Heel: II. Second Bounce” - Brooklyn Rider
“If It Falls It Falls” - The Pieces Of Shit
“This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody)” - Gloria
“Every Single Moment In My Life Is a Weary Wait” - Nino Bruno E Le 8 Tracce
“The Sword Is Yours” - The Pieces Of Shit
An online petition at GoPetition.com requesting that E! pull "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" has garnered over 120,000 signatures as of this morning -- and it's not the only one out there (there's also a website and Facebook group devoted to banning the family). There's been a lot of griping about Kim and her klan in the blogosphere (and I'll admit to making my fair share of snipes at Rob's thuddingly dull performance on "Dancing with the Stars"). The grumbling has gotten loud enough that the Los Angeles Timeshas pondered whether Kim's quickie marriage has permanently damaged the brand Kris Jenner has worked so hard to build. Even a co-worker of mine wondered why I hadn't weighed in on the bubbling backlash against the Kardashians.